2012 Conference
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Shabbat at Limmud NY
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Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM

Saturday Lunch

Saturday 12:00 PM–2:00 PM Ballrooms A, B

Sit with someone new! Lunch is a great time to meet new people at Limmud NY.

The Bible Players and The Quest for MenschHood!

A Torah Comedy Show for the Whole Family!

Andrew Davies, Aaron Friedman

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:15 PM Sullivan

Arts & Performance, Children & Families

The Bible Players perform their interactive Torah Comedy show, re-imagining scenes from the Tanakh with hilarious results! Moses argues with the Burning Bush, Abigail stops King David, Balaam and his donkey go head-to-head, and every story has a moral hidden inside. This interactive performance teaches mitzvot like Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) and avoiding Lashon Ha-Ra (Gossip), while being a laugh riot for both children and adults. Don’t miss it!

Civility in Public Discourse

Creating Active Intergroup Dialogue

Abby Mayerhoff

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Orange

Identity & Global Culture, Social Justice

The harsh tenor of U.S. electoral politics is a stark reminder of our need to actively insist on civility in public discourse. This session explores ways to connect people across religions, ethnicities, and cultures around this pressing agenda for our democracy. We will approach issues that have led to incivility, share strategies to create a healthier climate, and suggest concrete next steps to realizing civil politics in our community.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Birkat Hamazon

(or: "Why is Birkat Hamazon SO long?")

Joel Hoffman

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Ballroom C

Sacred Text & Thought, Spiritual Practice

In addition to containing its own liturgical treasures, Birkat Hamazon (blessing after meals), which is usually over a dozen pages long, exemplifies the fundamental principles of Jewish liturgy. Come learn why it is so long, what it contains, and how it reflects the basic workings of Jewish prayer.

Hidden Saints and Drunken Sages

Jewish Tales of Mystic Joy

Ira and Julia Levin

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Empire Lounge

Arts & Performance, Spiritual Practice

The Levins weave stories of rabbinical wisdom and tales of wonder with contemplative songs into a tapestry of mystic joy. This session of storytelling and song is for adults and older children.

I Love You, But You're Wrong About Everything

A Father and Son Seek Common Ground on Judaism

Carl Wolkin, David Wolkin

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM The View

Identity & Global Culture

Carl and David love being Jewish as much as they love each other, and have both dedicated their careers to serving their communities. But when it comes to Judaism itself, it seems like they don't have a whole lot in common. During this session, they will explore their many differences by addressing issues and questions that have been crowdsourced by their friends. Is it a generation gap or something deeper? Come find out!

Obama and the Jews

Who's our Friend: the President or the Tea Party?

Jonathan Wolf

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Manhattan Theater

Social and Communal, Social Justice

Has the president been “good for” Israel, Jewish causes? Jewish values? Our community? Are the Right Wing and the GOP leadership a promising alternative? Jonathan, an active leader of Jews for Obama in both 2008 and 2012, will strongly support the answers 'yes' and 'no', respectively. All views on any side of these questions will be encouraged, and specific, substantive arguments and evidence will be presented and welcomed.

Olam Ha-Ba Now!

Meditation as Access to the World to Come

Andrew Hahn

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Dutchess

Sacred Text & Thought, Spiritual Practice

Do Jews believe in an afterlife?? And what does that mean? This class will largely be a text study on the idea of Olam Ha-Ba, the "world to come." We will delve into various ways in which the Jewish tradition has treated this concept, both historically and in the journey of the individual. After some unexpected twists and turns, we will learn easy, concrete meditation techniques inspired by the texts.

The Spiritual Practice of Leading Tefilah

Ebn Leader

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Bentley's

Sacred Text & Thought, Spiritual Practice

Is prayer possible for the person leading prayer? How do you take responsibility for holding the “prayer space” for the community, without that becoming a distraction from your own ability to pray? Over my years of leading prayer I have come to the conclusion that responding to these problems involves understanding leading prayer as a distinct spiritual practice. If you have struggled with these questions, I am glad to share my thoughts and open a conversation.

Taming a Troubling Book

Rewriting Esther in Antiquity

Aaron Koller

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Ulster

Jewish History, Sacred Text & Thought

For a lot of reasons, the book of Esther challenged many of its early readers, unwilling to accept a Jewish heroine who lived “happily ever after” intermarried in the palace of a foreign king. One of the more interesting ways in which Jews dealt with the “problem” of Esther was solved was to write new stories, modeled on Esther but without its flaws. We will look at two stories, one from the Dead Sea Scrolls and one from rabbinic literature, which seem to be modeled on Esther, and these will allow us to think about the political power of these narratives, and all narratives.

Was Abraham Asked to Sacrifice His Ethics?

Rereading the Akedah (Binding of Isaac)

Ethan Tucker

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Columbia

College/University, Sacred Text & Thought

Akedat Yitzhak — the Biblical narrative describing the binding of Isaac — plays a central role in Jewish prayer, has inspired countless Jews throughout the generations and continues to haunt us when read on Rosh Hashanah. But in the modern period, the Akedah has been used for more dramatic effect: making true devotion to God dependent on transcending one's own ethical instincts. We will reevaluate this reading in an effort to reclaim the Akedah without sacrificing our own ethics in the process.

Where Do We Stand?

Interfaith Families and the Jewish Community

Benjamin Maron

Saturday 1:30 PM–2:45 PM Bentley's fireside

Identity & Global Culture

The questions keep echoing in your mind: I’m dating someone who isn’t Jewish and I can’t tell my parents – what do I do? What will my bubbe (grandma) think about the rabbi and priest co-officiating at our wedding? We’ve just had kids, how do I instill Jewish identity in them when my spouse celebrates Christmas? Come to this interactive discussion about interfaith families and relationships in the Jewish community – and be prepared to share your opinions!

Why James Herriot Should Be Required Reading

Shmuel Skaist

Canceled, sorry

Additional schedule

  • Saturday 3:15 PM–4:30 PM Orange

Identity & Global Culture, Shabbat

Country veterinarian turned best-selling author James Herriot is used as a springboard for a wide ranging discussion of what it means to be an integrated human being from a Torah perspective. Along the way we'll hear about Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman's most incredible achievements and failures as well as Yaakov Avinu's (Jacob our Father) dream awakening. And, perhaps unexpectedly if you don't know the presenter, how all of this can also give us a deeper understanding of and relationship to Shabbos.

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